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Monday Brews – 1-12-15

Scoville can heat up your frigid winter!

It’s a glorious Monday morning! Scoville is burning up twitter. The feedback so far from people on Board Game Geek is overwhelmingly positive. I’ve very thankful that people are enjoying the game. If you like it, head over to and rate it or write a review.

Side note: I haven’t yet received my Kickstarter copy. So if you haven’t received yours yet, you’re not alone.

One complaint I have been reading is that people seem to run out of the peppers. This was a very rare occurrence when playtesting the game, though my prototype did have slightly more peppers than the final production. But if you run out, please feel free to download and use this image to help keep peppers in the supply.

Use these multiplier tokens when you have a bunch in your stash and the supply is running low.

Use these multiplier tokens when you have a bunch in your stash and the supply is running low.

As we start another week I am feeling inspired. I chatted with my mom a little bit yesterday after the Green Bay Packers game. We were discussing game design and how it wasn’t ever one of my goals in life as a kid. She reminded me that I wanted to be a Police Sketch Artist when I was little. It’s funny to me that only five or so years ago I wasn’t that big into gaming (or “real” gaming). But I met some awesome people along the way and started to think I could design a game. And here we are, with Scoville about ready to hit retail. So amazingly exciting!

Anyway, enough of the touchy-feely stuff. Let’s get onto the Boards & Barley that I enjoyed over the last week…

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The Barley:

Tyranena Sheep Shagger Scotch Ale

After having the McEwan’s Scotch Ale last week I didn’t think I could ever enjoy a different brand. Obviously that’s not true, it’s just a way of stating how enjoyable the McEwan’s was. But I enjoyed the Tyranena Sheep Shagger quite a lot as well. It has a wonderful taste and nice body which makes it quite enjoyable on a cold winter night.

  • Capital Winter Skal
  • Deschutes Red Chair NWPA
  • NEW! – Perennial Dual Artisanship – I picked this up because I had heard awesome things about Perennial and Prairie Artisan Ales out of St. Louis. It is a Belgian style brewed with Brettanomyces yeast. It was lovely, though I doubt I’d get another one since it was $13.
  • Capital Supper Club

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The Boards:

NEW! – Caverna: The Cave Farmers

“I’ll never play Agricola again.” ~ Tom Vasel

Me either, Tom! Playing Caverna was an amazing experience. There is so much going on in the game that it is easy to lose track of things. However, the improvements over Agricola make this game far superior to me. Feeding your family is no longer a singular focus. Adding the Adventuring reduces the importance of Family Growth. There are numerous paths to victory. And the components! There are so many components. Literally tons. And they’re great components. Sticks. Dogs. Rubies. Donkeys. I cannot wait to play again.

  • Machi Koro
  • NEW! – Abyss – The board is a bit unnecessary since this is basically a card game. However, the artwork on everything is truly epic. The game was enjoyable with interesting decisions, quick play, and feel-good moments. I’d play it again and enjoy the beautiful artwork.

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Designer’s Corner

I’ve been pretty lax with my design efforts lately as the Scoville roll-out has been ongoing. But I did sit down the other day to work on Ziggurat. I thought of a fantastic way to ditch the singular path to victory while making the game more interesting, more intense, and more enjoyable. Now it’s time to put all that stuff together into a new prototype and get it to the table.

Horizontal RuleThanks for reading. What Boards & Barley have you been enjoying?

Monday Brews 5-19-14

After a week off from my Monday Brews articles last week I’ve wrangled up a long beer list. It was aided by the fact that my city was having a Craft Beer Week. And it was also aided by two playtests of Brooklyn Bridge. So I’ve got a nice long beer list for you this week.

I also brewed another beer. I’ll be writing about that later this week unless my new baby pops out of my wife’s belly. It is a wheat beer that I’m calling “You’ve Been Wheated.”

So let’s jump right in and start with the barley…

The Barley:

Best word to describe it: Yum!

BARLEY SPOTLIGHT: Tyranena Doubly Down and Even Dirtier Barrel Aged Chocolate Vanilla Double Stout

I enjoyed this most amazing beer with possibly the longest beer name ever during a Madison Craft Beer Week event. It was on tap and it was amazing. It was very rich with a beautiful flavor and a solidity to it that made it feel as though you just ate a full meal. I will definitely drink this again. Also, it’s baby brother, “Down & Dirty,” is also very good and more accessible.

  • Sprecher Special Amber
  • Boddingtons
  • NEW! New Belgium Snapshot – I liked it at first but then it seemed to have a characteristic closer to a Sour beer. I’ll try it again.
  • Young’s Double Chocolate Stout
  • Lucette Hips Don’t Lie
  • NEW! New Glarus Spiced Ale – Not as spicy as I was expecting, which was pleasant.
  • NEW! Boulder Shake Chocolate Porter – Warm this one up a little and you’ve got yourself a full-on dessert!
  • NEW! Potosi Steamboat Shandy – This was a very enjoyable shandy.
  • NEW! Blakkr Imperial Black Ale – This brew is actually a partnership between three breweries. (Three Floyds, Surly, Real Ale). I didn’t particularly enjoy this brew.
  • New Belgium Trippel
  • Hofbrau Original
  • Bridgeport Kingpin
  • NEW! Green Flash Double Stout Black Ale – This was an excellent, deep, dark double stout.

The Boards:

How good of a Euro could this be? They don’t really look that bored.


This isn’t a new game, but it was new to me. And I loved the simplicity of it! The options you can choose on your turn are simple (build houses OR build a well OR build canals). But with those three simple choices comes a game with surprising depth. Which house tiles do you build – 1s, 2s, 3s, or 4s? When/Where should you build a well? How/Where should you build canals. This is a euro and it doesn’t try to hide it. The board is basically a big grid sectioned into 20 areas. I love games that use simple mechanics but yet have deep and interesting decisions!

  • Targi – such a fun 2 player game!
  • Quantum Orcas – Ran another successful playtest. Still not sure what I want to do with this game.
  • Love Letter
  • Unpublished Prototype – oh man… this one is SOOO good!
  • Qwirkle
  • Brooklyn Bridge – more below.

Designer’s Corner:

The progress currently being made on Brooklyn Bridge is making me feel much better about the game. While there are interesting mechanics that people seem to enjoy it has been all the other stuff in the game that has been needing the work.

The most major change is that money is no longer a part of the game. (Side note: I may bring money back with money being the points in the game. Currently the points are set up such that they could be equivalent to $$.) Previously players could earn money without having to build the bridge. That meant that early in the game they would focus on money to buy abilities. With the change the only way to buy abilities is with points and the only way to get points is to actually build the bridge… imagine that!

I am extremely happy with how the latest playtest went. The first half of the game worked really well, consisted of interesting decisions, and players overall seemed to be having fun. A big thing that was an improvement was the new player mats. These allowed me to get rid of the 30 red, 30 yellow, 30 brown, and 30 silver cubes that represent the bricks and mortar. Now players have one cube of each color and they move it along on their player mat.

Player Mat - Green for V7

It wasn’t all good though. The second half of the game imploded. It was as if the game ran into a brick wall (no pun intended). The upside is that I have implemented a few changes which should circumvent that issue. I can’t wait to get it to the table again. This is probably the first time with Brooklyn Bridge where I really feel like there is “publishing potential.”

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There you go… the late, great version of two weeks of Boards & Barley. What Boards & Barley have you been enjoying???

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